Justin Mankin Describes Developing Countries' Economic Losses Due to Climate Change

Assistant professor of Geography Justin Mankin speaks to Inside Climate News about the 2022 study on loss and damages. Inside Climate News writes:

"There are scientific tools that can help ensure a fair allocation of funds. [Mankin and Callahan's study include] very precise estimates of how much each country's emissions contributed to climate damage in other countries. 

Co-author Justin Mankin, a geography professor at Dartmouth, said the timing of the paper was serendipitous, given the increasing urgency of loss and damage talks.

"What our project does is, it says, we can now leverage advances in the detection and attribution of climate change … down to the event scale," he said. An example is how researchers calculated how much of Hurricane Harvey's rain that swamped Houston in 2017 was due to global warming, and then attached a cost to that. Following that method, it's theoretically possible to figure out who owes who how much for climate impacts, he said.

The precise tracking of the cost of climate impacts "removes some of the uncertainties that have undermined loss and damage progress to date," he said. "Until recently, there's been this inability to prove that any one country's or corporation's emissions are the cause of harm to another party."

If you're trying to assign responsibility, he said, "that chain of causality can't be ambiguous. There can't be any plausible deniability. You know, we're all emitting greenhouse gases, and many countries have hidden behind a veil of plausible deniability."

Mankin said it helps to look at the coin from the other side. Not only are poorer countries suffering climate damage they didn't cause and can't afford; they are also seeing a negative wealth transfer, the cost of climate impacts, that is "underwriting the economic well-being of the people who are causing global warming.""

Read the entire article at Inside Climate News for more.